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A Thanksgiving Message

United States Air Force Chaplain Service logo

United States Air Force Chaplain Service logo

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. --

As we enter the season of Thanksgiving I would like to share some words from President Ronald Regan in 1986:

THANKSGIVING DAY, 1986 — “Today let us take heart from the noble example of our first President. . . . And let us ever be mindful of the faith and spiritual values that have made our Nation great and that alone can keep us great.”

One of the most inspiring portrayals of American history is that of George Washington on his knees in the snow at Valley Forge. That moving image personifies and testifies to our Founders’ dependence upon Divine Providence during the darkest hours of our Revolutionary struggle. It was then — when our mettle as a Nation was tested most severely — that the Sovereign and Judge of nations heard our plea and came to our assistance in the form of aid from France. Thereupon General Washington immediately called for a special day of thanksgiving among his troops. . . .

Eleven years later, President Washington, at the request of the Congress, first proclaimed November 26, 1789, as Thanksgiving Day. . . . President Washington exhorted the people of the United States to observe “a day of public thanksgiving and prayer” so that they might acknowledge “with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.” . . .

Today let us take heart from the noble example of our first President. Let us pause from our many activities to give thanks to almighty God for our bountiful harvests and abundant freedoms. . . . And let us ever be mindful of the faith and spiritual values that have made our Nation great and that alone can keep us great. With joy and gratitude in our hearts, let us sing those stirring stanzas:

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee.

With joy and gratitude for you all.